How to train your audience – Research based advice on public speaking for scientists

How to train your audience – Research based advice on public speaking for scientists

Author: Trine Bentsen –, Denmark

Maja Horst – University of Copenhagen, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication
Peter Hyldgård –

In this workshop, we will demonstrate and practise techniques for presenting science in a live setting to a general audience. The techniques are a result of a new big evaluation project examining different schemes with popular science presentations in Denmark. This will be the first presentation of the project in an international setting.

The workshop will demonstrate the techniques ‘on stage’, and invite participants to try some of them out themselves. Assisted by Professor Maja Horst we will discuss how our research results from a Danish setting can be applied in other countries. Can we find universal rules for presenting science to different audiences regardless of their different cultural or educational background?

Project description:

In Denmark, hundreds of scientists from a range of disciplines voluntarily spend their time and energy presenting their science through formalised science presentation schemes. One example is the Book a Scientist scheme, which gives everyone the opportunity to receive a visit from a scientist, free of charge. These schemes aim to engage the public, and thus increase the public knowledge about science.

The Danish science news outlet,, examined the outcome of these presentations. During the evaluation project, we assessed which presentation techniques are most suitable and efficient to use in these schemes.

We measured to what extend the audience expresses interest in the subject presented to them by scientists using a variety of presentation techniques, and then compared our results with previously published research in didactic and communications. The outcome was a series of instructional videos to teach scientists how to implement these techniques in their own presentations. We display some of the videos at the workshop.

This combination of our own research and established research in communication and didactic will expand our understanding of what characterises good and efficient oral science communication in formalised science presentation schemes.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Workshop
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices